How to visit Mount Rainier National Park.?

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After a week of traveling in Colorado and South Dakota , I went on an adventure a week later in Washington State and Oregon. With my travel mates , we chained the kilometers to discover the magnificent national parks of the northwest coast of the United States, starting with Mount Rainier ( Mount Rainier National Park ) located about 1h40 drive south of Seattle .

Like many of my trips to the US, it will remain engraved forever in my memory, especially since it was during this one that I met the person with whom I currently share my life, Alana . We had magical moments during this road trip through these splendid national parks.

Through this article, I will introduce you to Mount Rainier National Park between glaciers, lakes, waterfalls and fir forests. In addition to giving you practical information on the national park (best period, length of visit, etc.), I will guide you to organize your stay by separating the park into two:

The Sunrise and Stevens Canyon part;

The Paradise and Reflection Lake part.

Thus, you will know the hikes to do and the spots not to be missed in Mount Rainier. Finally, I tell you at the end of the article which are the campsites where you can sleep in the park.

Mount Rainier being a high mountain national park with an altitude exceeding 4000 meters in some places. Summer is the best season to have full access to the park and to be able to hike, but it is also the time of the year when the crowds are at their highest; so plan to arrive before 10:00 a.m.! So many roads are closed from October to June . The month of September seems to me to be a good compromise between accessibility and less crowds.

I personally went there during the second half of July. We had the right to snow on one of the hiking trails we took, and not just a little! The temperatures were pleasant during the day (but not very high either) and cool early in the morning and in the evening. If you plan to go camping there, you should know that even in summer the nights are cold . Nevertheless, we weren’t particularly well equipped and we survived!

On nps.gov you will find a table which indicates the temperatures according to the months and the different places of the park.

1. How to visit Mount Rainier in high season?

In front of the mountains of Mount Rainier National Park

By Alana Huyghe

The visit to the park can be done in one day if you start it early enough and don’t want to do a lot of hiking. However, if you want to do several hikes, plan to stay longer . During our visit, we arrived at the end of the day and went camping in the park in order to start our day early the next day.

It is not possible to do all of the following in a single day; you have to choose according to your desires and the advice I give you. The organization that I propose to you is obviously not the only one possible and you can start your visit in Paradise instead of Sunrise. There are several ways to organize your stay but I want to highlight the main places that are accessible and worthwhile.\

2. A morning (or more) at Sunrise and Stevens Canyon

Coming from Seattle, you normally enter the park through the Sunrise/White River entrance. Continue on the road to arrive at the Sunrise Visitor Center and obtain information on the conditions of visit and the map of the park.

On this side, the landscapes are already spectacular . It is at Sunrise that it is possible to reach the highest altitude by car. There are also several hikes that leave from the visitor center and give a splendid view of the northeast face of Mount Rainier; here are two:

Sourdough Ridge Trail to Dege Peak

Moderate hike of 6.7 km (about 2h30 walk) which allows you to have a view of the surrounding peaks such as Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, etc. From Dege Peak it is possible to see Sunrise Lake and Clover Lake.

Map Sourdough Ridge Trail to Dege Peak

Map of the Sourdough Ridge Trail to Dege Peak

Emmons Vista Overlooks

Easier than the first one, this 1.6 km hike for about 30 minutes of walking will be a better choice for those who don’t have much time. The start of the trail is on Sunrise Rim Trail then you have to turn left on Silver Forest Trail. Two viewpoints give a panorama of Mount Rainier, Emmons Glacier and the White River valley.

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